I’m making a deliberate choice not to draw any big conclusions about early retirement here on the blog until we’re at least three months into it, maybe longer, because we are still very much in the detox phase right now and don’t yet know what our daily rhythms will look like after we’ve caught up on sleep (or even just gotten over the jet lag), how we’ll feel long-term with no title and no career, or any of the big, life-changing stuff that we suspect early retirement will bring. But, that said, some things are clear to us already, and one of those is that:
So far, early retirement involves a lot of time travel.
To many different times, in fact. Think I’m joking? Read on!
Sleep and Time Travel
Yesterday, I slept for 15 hours. From a little after midnight to 9 am, when I looked at my phone and said, “Wow, cool! I made it 9 hours!” And then from 9 to 3:30 in the freaking afternoon, after I proceeded to fall instantly back asleep, snooze away those hours, wake up, glance at my phone again, and this time jolt out of bed, march out to Mark, who was reading on the couch, and ask incredulously, “What the hell just happened?!”
Because I am a bad sleeper. Always have been. I have slept 15 hours in one night exactly zero times that I can ever remember. Most weekend days while working, I was stoked if I slept past 7:30, regardless of how late we’d been up. (And, yes, I know all the parents of young children are snickering. We know that sleeping in wouldn’t be an option if we had kids.) And I didn’t believe that work stress had anything to do with me being a bad sleeper, or at least it didn’t cause the problem. Because even as a baby, my parents told my doctors they were worried about how little I slept. I would just stare out at the world when I was supposed to be getting that brain-growing shut-eye.
But now, suddenly, I am capable of doing this thing I’ve never been able to do before. And while it’s true that I was tired and coming off a short night of sleep the night before (stupid jet lag and 16-hour time differences), I was tired and coming off short nights of sleep for essentially my entire career, and I still never slept 15 hours. I maybe slept 12 hours like once every 5 years.
Now, apparently, I sleep like a teenager. (A teenager I personally never was, no less!)
Because early retirement is like going back in time.
Budgeting and Time Travel
The last few years of saving for early retirement were not the budgeting masterpiece you might expect. Though we’ve been successful with our finances by any measure, we are not what you’d call master budgeters, and have always done far better with unbudgeting approaches like paying ourselves first. But when we started beating our saving goals and still had money left in our checking account? Well, we got a little fast and loose with that money, stocking up on things we knew we wouldn’t want to buy after we were retired, and making a few more trips than we might otherwise have.
Now, though, it’s a new day. While the amount we have to spend this year is not dramatically different from what we’ve had to spend in the past, we don’t have the wiggle room that large, steady paychecks once afforded us. If we’d had a budget overage in the past, we just had to make it two weeks at most until another paycheck came and all was forgiven. Or maybe we transferred some money over from the “life happens” fund and then refilled that fund over the course of a few months.
The safety nets are now gone, though. (The allowances notwithstanding. And, in truth, we haven’t implemented those yet.) A budgetary oops could force us to sell more shares than we’re supposed to this year and even potentially jeopardize the long-term solvency of our early retirement, especially if we end up with a bad sequence of returns. (It would take a big oops to do that, but we’re talking worst case here.)
Which means: as budget averse as we are, we have to figure out a few forms of budgeting that we can live with. Like setting an amount we can spend per day on a trip. Or figuring out what a trip to Coachella in April means for our dining out in February and March. Or how long we can afford to stay in New York City in May if we also want to go to Germany this year. In the past, we’ve generally planned one trip at a time, not several, so if we overspent on one trip we might just not do the next one, or we’d figure out after the fact some way to make up for it. But that’s not really an option anymore unless we’d be okay potentially traveling less. (We’re not.)
The last time we had to think like that, in concrete budgetary terms? Our mid-20s. And now we get to remember in gory detail what that was like. Which is especially weird because we weren’t even together the last time money was truly tight for both of us. So we’re again traveling back in time, but to a time we didn’t share with each other.
Travel Standards and Time Travel
I never got used to super swanky hotels when I traveled for work, because I was not into spending my company’s or clients’ money that way. But every once in a while, a place like the Ritz would have some crazy low rate, and I’d jump at the chance to stay there. And in my last few years, I had Marriott platinum status, and that meant frequent upgrades to suites, which came with lots of space, even if it wasn’t especially luxurious space. There were also the perks like early check-in and late check-out, free breakfast and lounge access, and just generally a higher level of niceness and helpfulness at the front desk.
And while I still have Marriott and SPG status for another year (and will soon have Marriott gold status for life after I reach United million miler), we’re not going to be staying in Marriott properties nearly as often now that we’re done with our careers. Marriotts overseas tend to be pretty terrible points values (of course there are notable exceptions), and in a place like Taipei, where it’s easy to find a totally decent hotel for $50 a night, there was no way in hell I was going to trade in 40,000 points a night for a slightly better hotel. Obviously we weren’t going to pay for a western hotel, either, given that those cost at least double the local places.
But that meant we spent most of our trip staying in tiny matchboxes of rooms. The worst was our last night in Taipei, before we flew home, when the tiny room was the least problematic, but when there isn’t even a place to put two smallish backpacks or to hang your towels (after you’ve showered in the shared bathroom down the hall) and you end up draping them over the TV, you know your travel standards are being forced to change, and fast.
This is absolutely what we signed up for. We knew we could work a little longer and then afford to travel a lot while staying at nicer places. Or we could leave work a little sooner, but then choose either to travel less or to stay in cheaper places. And leaving work sooner while still traveling a lot was our top priority, so we happily accepted the trade-off of smaller rooms in less amenity-filled properties.
But overnight, we went from staying in totally decent, usually nice, sometimes swanky places, to staying in places where you snap pics because you know no one will believe you when you tell them how small the room was.
Which is just like when I traveled around Europe after high school, and when Mark did it in his early 20s. Because, y’all — time travel.
Time and, Er, Time Travel
Our careers, if you boiled them down to their core essence, were about saying yes. Which sounds all cool and improv-y, but really, that’s just the core of client work. When clients ask for something, you try your absolute best to be able to say yes to them. Even when I realized that I’d only make it through the last year of work by saying no more and setting clearer boundaries, I still tried to say yes as much as possible within the new parameters I set.
Mark and I still had a script that sounded like:
Absolutely I can be there for that 9 am Monday meeting, even if it means traveling on Sunday, because I get why Tuesday won’t work instead. No problem being on that 8 am conference call, because I know you’re busy the rest of the day. You need that report tomorrow, all of a sudden, when the last you told me, you didn’t need it for two weeks? Okay, sure, I can pull an all-nighter.
And so far our early retirement is not the work-free fantasy we’d initially (and foolishly) dreamed of. Mark is spending a lot of time on work for the organization whose board he leads. And I’m doing lots of blog and podcast hustling. All of which is work we choose to do, work that passes our high school rule.
But we’re doing it a lot differently. With a lot less yes, even if the people we’d be saying yes to are now ourselves. We’re reserving whole days of the week for play and relaxation. We put things off while in Taiwan instead of working on vacation, like we had for every prior one we could remember. My Asana to-do list has multiple days in a row with no tasks to check off (I do kinda miss the unicorn burst on my screen after checking off a big one). The calendar on my phone looks like I just got a new phone and haven’t uploaded my full schedule yet.
And it’s marvelous. It’s like being a kid. A kid with the aches of late-30- and 40-somethings, and the gray hairs to match, sure. But still a kid with the freedom of those weekends and wide-open summer days. And so far, it’s even better than we dreamed.
Let’s Talk About Your Time Travel
So tell all of us — how do you hope to time travel in early retirement? Or if you’re retired already, what’s your time travel journey like? Any big surprises? What’s something you’d like to experience again from each major chapter or era of your life? Or something you dread experiencing again? ;-) Or maybe something you’ve already experienced in the course of your savings journey, like how we dialed back our baller years and got on the lifestyle stagnation path instead, revisiting our lives of a decade earlier? Let’s discuss in the comments!
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Categories: we retired early
Well in my semi retirement I’m certainly not capable of sleeping 15 hours straight. 15 hours!! I can barely muster 7 or 8. Probably anxiety problems on my side, but I’m detoxing too. Case in point, I’m off today and it’s 6:20 am and here I am commenting on your blog.
As for hotel rooms when traveling for vacation, here’s how I look at it. I’m on vacation to a place to see that place. All I need is a clean room with a bed and a shower. I don’t want to spend any more time than necessary in said room than I have to, I want to be out doing things. I never understood people who want fancy rooms on vacay. So you can admire different color walls and a different brand of flat-screen than you have at home?
Thanks for the post, I need to try to time travel back to bed…. :)
I know! It’s crazy. I’ve never slept that much! I didn’t even think it was possible without being super sick or something. And I totally share your philosophy on hotel rooms, though it’s nice when you’re at least not tripping over your stuff. ;-) And, to be honest, if money was no object, we’d for sure stay at nicer places. Having services on site is nice as well as a staff that can do more for you if the need arises is convenient, at least! ;-) Now go back to sleep!
Wow. That extra sleep sounds wonderful. It’s clear that things have quickly changed for you in early retirement. That’s the point though right? Relax and enjoy. Thanks for sharing. I’m still years away but it’s nice to live vicariously through you.
Sleeping 15 hours one night might be my biggest achievement so far in early retirement. ;-) Here’s hoping I can provide some more exciting inspiration soon! Hahahaha.
Great post! When you early retire, you do need to change the mindset. And learn to adapt to the new routines.
I want to time travel too!!! :)
Thank you! And absolutely — so much mindset changing! Baby steps for us so far. :-)
I’m looking forward to that detox period, especially after three straight evenings of minimal sleep do to some unexpected work surprises. Its ruining that *nostalgia* I was hoping for this year!
Would it help if I say that I feel nostalgic for those especially sleep deprived work periods? ;-) (I’d be lying. I don’t. Good luck getting through this period and catching up on sleep!)
The sleeping thing reminds me of whenever we visit my parents. When we’re there, the kids wake up at 7 and play with my parents. I usually get up around 6 when I’m at home because I have things to do. I have nothing to do at my parent’s place… so I just keep sleeping. It’s fantastic. :)
Sounds so nice! ;-) I have no kids to use as an excuse, though. I just had a crazy long night of sleep for the first time in, like, ever. Hahahaha.
Mega sleep…that was me a little over a year ago when I got laid off from my job of 14 years. I had been working a ton of overtime and working on my side hustle on top of my regular hours so my body and my brain really needed it. I still don’t use an alarm but wake up naturally after about 7-8 hours a night. I suspect you will as well.
Congratulations on retirement! We’re still a long way out but doing my own thing from home (I’m a virtual assistant) has done wonders for my stress levels and overall happiness levels that I already feel semi-retired!
That is normally me — I say my sleep has a shutoff valve. ;-) Sleeping more than 8 hours is a miracle most of the time!
Thanks for the congrats! It’s starting to sink in that we actually get to keep doing this whole early retirement thing and aren’t just dabbling in it. ;-) So glad you get to work from home and that it’s less stressful for you!
My husband is currently in the terrible sleep thanks to work phase of life. Often he is up at 2, 3, or 4AM just because he can’t shut off his brain. We go away and camp for the weekend without cell service, though, like we just did, and he sleeps 11 hours. We may not be looking to fully retire at FI, but I definitely have it in my brain that what he’s doing now may not be sustainable in the long run.
Oh yeah, if he’s not naturally a bad sleeper like I always have been, and it’s situational because of work stress, then that’s a big clue that he will only pay a bigger health toll over time if he keeps doing that work!
Yeah, exactly. At 30 his body can keep up reasonably well, but it’s not going to get easier with time. Hence working toward living on just one of our incomes now to give us options even before FI :)
Gosh no it’s not! But my dad, who’s almost 70, recently made a big effort to sleep more (bad sleeper like me), and it’s really working for him. So you can teach an old dog new tricks on this, I guess. ;-)
I’m hoping my dad (65) will learn that trick soon as well 😕
Don’t give up hope! I shared research from the national sleep foundation or something similar on the ill effects of too little sleep, and he actually came around pretty quickly. The word “dementia” was front and center, and I think that was the thing that did it. ;-)
Ahhh…. that could work. Link please? 😊
Oh! But did I mention I’ve been up all night?! #lunareclipse Hahaha. I am not quickly finding the graphic I gave him, but this is a good rundown: https://www.ergoflex.co.uk/blog/category/sleep-research/The-Shocking-Consequences-of-Sleep-Deprivation.
Hahahaha of course you have been. BUT – you can now nap when you feel like it!
And I just did! ;-)
I don’t know if this counts, but in early retirement I want to finally live out my middle school dream of learning to skateboard.
Uh, YEAH THAT COUNTS!!! And that’s an awesome goal!!
FIFTEEN HOURS WHAT. I, too, am a ridiculously horrible sleeper (going to see a sleep doctor last year was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I’m still not great and I should probably go back in for a sleep study so we can officially figure out what’s up, but at least things are better) and am not sure I’ve even slept 12 hours before (being sick and in bed for days doesn’t count). I’ll get nine or maybe ten if I’m not going to barre in the morning on weekends and therefore don’t set an alarm. But most weekends I’m awake at my usual weekday time, except that I’m wide awake with no chance of falling back asleep, which is a far cry from my weekday status. Bodies are weird.
I KNOW. I still don’t totally believe that *I* slept that long. Mark totally could, no problem. But I think that was my sleep unicorn, never to be seen again. ;-) And YES, bodies are weird. But I’m so glad you went to the sleep doc and are doing some work to make your sleep better. That is SO worth it, and a sleep study might help you ID some stuff you don’t already know about about.
I’ll have to imagine the time travel thing for now. I think the kids change things a bit. Maybe when they are in college, but that’s still more than a decade away (a decade that will go far too quickly!)
The small room thing reminded me of our place on Block Island this past summer. We went with the cheapest room that also had the best location. Seemed like a clear win-win. It would have been great if we were a couple, but it was too small with the two kids. It wasn’t nearly as small as your room, but you can tell it was built in the 1700s and had all that 18th century “charm.” This next summer, we’ll pay nearly double, but it’s a big suite and it’s dog-friendly, so we’ll save money on a sitter.
I’m an unbudgeter as well, but with the trips that we have planned this year, I think I will need to start.
Haha. I’m sure that’s true that kids change things — how could they not?! And the tiny room (plus a few other small ones) were instructive, because it taught us that we care less about space and more about the ability to get stuff off the floor. So in the future I will be scrutinizing small room photos for wall hooks and small surfaces with plugs. ;-) And as for you guys, paying more for more space sounds like it makes sense!
It’s almost like you have to make the mistake once with the small room and learn from it ;-).
Indeed! And maybe I should lobby Expedia and TripAdvisor to add a “hooks and surfaces” rating to their rundown. ;-)
First, let me say, CONGRATULATIONS on your serious slumber! Well done. *insert gold stars*
Second, do you have any posts that go into more detail about battling the “fudging it” due to your cushy pay checks? We are fortunate to have this struggle as well. For example, I just bought two pairs of shoes (both of which are unnecessary), and found myself being able to easily rationalize it because it’d all shake out fine in two weeks.
Oh my, gold stars for sleep! I never thought that was possible! ;-) (Thank you! Hahaha.) I don’t have posts specifically about dealing with countering those fudging it tendencies, but I do think increasing the amount of money you’re paying yourself first or hiding from yourself in other ways can help a ton! Whenever we could ourselves meandering off the path, we upped our savings or investment amounts, and that always gave us a bit of a reality check. ;-)
I am jealous about the sleep! I like your statement, “I am capable of doing things I have never been able to do before”. That’s a gift of FIRE; you have opened a door and will see what comes. While you have positioned yourselves nicely with those key projects to which you will say yes, you will likely enjoy the “fresh start” and “clean slate” that will lead you to discover all kinds of new things. I hope you have a few more days of wonderfully long sleep!
Old me is kinda jealous, too! ;-) Hahaha. And I think you’re right — I’m going to view these new abilities as FIRE superpowers and be grateful for them. ;-)
After being retired for 9 months now, I am still waking up unassisted around 5:30am on weekdays. I make breakfast and take my kid to school. On weekends, I “sleep in” until 6:30am, sometimes 7am. Guess I will always be a morning person…
Huh! I’m sure having a kid makes a HUGE difference. We don’t have that same thought kidding around in ours heads of knowing we need to be up for another person. It will be interesting to see what happens with your sleep once it’s empty nest time!
15 hours of sleep sounds amazing.
I think I’d hate it right now though. I don’t have the luxury of being able to “waste” the morning and better part of an afternoon sleeping. My waking hours away from the office are few so I always feel the need to be productive and do stuff on the weekends. To have the time to actually enjoy that 15 hours of sleep would be great. :)
I know what you mean! And even now, I don’t think I’d be cool with this being a regular thing — so much I’d miss out on! But I suspect it was a one-time thing. ;-)
That hotel room reminds me of the one we got in Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica. It’s a room that dreams of becoming a closet someday.
Luckily the rest of the hotel was nice and spacious so it wasn’t a huge deal, but I think I’ll pick a bigger space next time.
When we first started travelling after retiring, we were worried about the costs too–I thought we’d need 75K-100K/year. Turns out, nope. You can easily get it down to 40K/year (less than 4% based on our current portfolio size) if you split your time between expensive places (like western europe, Australia, Canada and the US) and inexpensive places (like Eastern Europe, Mexico, Central and South America or South East Asia). Now it actually costs us LESS money to travel than live in Toronto. So it was a no brainer.
I gotta say, i’ve never slept for 15 hours straight, but that sounds awesome :)
If you decide to go to Germany this year, we should meet up! This was the last year for us to get a 1 year youth-mobility Visa so our plan is to stay in Europe (mostly Germany) for the whole year.
Your hotel with the tiny room sounds nicer than our place, but fortunately it was just one night! ;-) And we’ll definitely let you know if we’ll be in Europe — I’m hoping so!
Good for you.. keeping your calendar clear for days at a time! This is the epitome of early retirement to me. It feels like time travel, too; stay open to the possibilities of what the day will bring.
Wish us luck that we can maintain it! ;-) (This is the “too much yes” problem!)
A little bit of jealousy – I have never slept for 15 hours a day in my entire life.
I don’t envy that room, though!
Ha! Yeah, the room was teensy. And we definitely did NOT sleep 15 hours there! ;-)
You know you don’t have kids when you get to sleep 15 hours a day. :p
We are lucky to be able to sleep through the night (like 7 hours) without any disturbance from kids nowadays. Unfortunately, our kids don’t understand the concept of “mommy and daddy would like to sleep in till 8 AM.”
Keeping no plans at all with your calendar during early retirement is the way to do it. :)
I said the kid thing in the post! ;-) I know you have a different situation with regard to sleep. Though our dogs do wake us up sometimes, not that that’s the same. Hahaha.
That hotel room reminds me of a hilarious hotel room we had in Japan once. The room was matchbox sized with barely room to move, but the even funnier part was that the one window in the room looked out to a giant electronic billboard that filled the entire window.
Even with the blinds closed it still gave off lots of light. Like you, I had to take pictures of that room so people would believe me! Still, that was an incredible bargain. Cheap, high quality, and even included a buffet breakfast. A great deal!
Ha! The billboard would probably bug me more than the size of the room! Was it a real hotel room or a capsule? We have yet to stay in a real capsule, but I’m sure we will soon.
We also stayed in a tiny room (in Narita) when we had a layover in Japan a few years ago. It wasn’t a capsule hotel and we did have our own bathroom en suite, but the only place for the luggage was under the tiny counter that passed for a desk/TV stand. But it was only for 1 night, it included breakfast and it was walking distance from the train station. I’d stay there again.
Although I travel to see the place, not the room, I will admit to being a sucker for a view. The 2 greatest rooms we ever had view-wise were in a castle on the Moselle in Germany with a dinky balcony we could stand on and watch the river traffic and an Air BnB in Essaouira, Morocco that overlooked the old city wall and the ocean.
I remember when I took 6 months off working when I started grad school. I wouldn’t set an alarm and I just let myself sleep until I woke naturally. After a few months of that, I finally became the person who woke up at 8 a.m. no matter when I went to bed. That’s the last time I remember being really well rested and I hope to get there again when we FIRE in a few years.
I can put up with just about anything for one night, so yeah, I’d say we’d go back to the teensy room place again for a single night. But not for several! ;-) And yeah, I often wonder if people who don’t care about the room at all have never had a great view. Yours sound wonderfully dreamy! As does your grad school sleep experience! Even after all that sleep last weekend, I still don’t feel well rested — I think that’s going to take a while!
See?! Early retirement does give you superpowers!!! Not really but I’m glad you two are having so much fun! Maybe you gave yourself permission to sleep so much.
I’m also a bad sleeper and early riser. On my bucket list is to sleep in to 12 (noon). I’ve crossed it out and have accomplished it once in my life. Holding out for the second time!
It does! It does! I think you’re right that I must have given myself unconscious permission to sleep in a way I never had before. Might need to dial that back just a smidge… ;-) I bet you’ll make it past noon again after you retire!
We had a two day layover in Iceland a couple years ago, and when asked how it we liked it, my first response was, “We had such a great room. We slept 15 hours straight!” Which says a lot about work and life pressure right there.
But if you ever want to hibernate, I can recommend a great pension in Keflavik – most effective if you stay there during the winter months 😀
Ha! That’s not good. ;-) And apparently our own house is pretty great for hibernation — who knew?!
Don’t be surprised if the detox takes up to six months. After retiring in May of 2017, it was a good 5-6 months before I finally wound down and realized I was really retired. Fortunately, sleep happened sooner for me. I was a notorious 5am wake up kind of guy (didn’t even need an alarm) for 20 years of my career. But I surprisingly (and happily), I found myself sleeping in until 7:30am or 8:00am almost immediately after retiring. I hope it continues for you. It has for me, and the great thing is I awake excited for each new day. It really is like time travel! (I’ve never heard anyone else describe it that way! But you’re absolutely right!) I’ve likened it to those summer vacation days in grade school. I would wake up every day rested and beaming for what the new day of summer vacation would bring! It’s awesome to feel that way again! It’s the best part of early retirement for me. Here’s hoping we keep that younger feeling forever!
Six months to a year seems to be the average I’ve heard from folks! But how great that you immediately started sleeping later and, even better, waking up with such excitement each day! That’s the best! We’ve only had a little dose of it so far, but it’s pretty amazing. :-)
Sleeping for 15hrs sounds awesome! I’m ecstatic I can sleep to 7am right now. As it gets lighter earlier and earlier, so does my waking up time according to my brain. Gggrr! I know about black out shades but then it’s too hard to wake up. I’d rather live with it.
When I had 8 months off, it felt like time traveling back to my sweet summer vacations. Next time I take a break from work, I’m aiming to fit more travel in.
Glad you’re early retirement is going well!
Oh I’m a big fan of blackout drapes — I do think they’re worth considering. You might have an adjustment period, but over time you’d sleep more soundly and it might very well be worth it. But you know yourself the best. ;-)
It is amazing how you can get in the habit of waking up a certain time. I wake up at 5:30 for work and on the weekends I’m usually still up by 6:30. Although part of that is the dog not understanding weekends….
I’m excited to keep seeing more travel pictures. Loved your newsletter!
I was the same way for so long! Up at 7:30 latest, no matter what. And wide awake then, with no hope of falling back asleep. And so glad you enjoyed the newsletter — thanks for saying so!
I’m a pretty good sleeper, but I have periodic stress-related insomnia. To me there is nothing more rewarding than totally zonking the night after a big project or presentation. Glad your stress levels are already low enough that you can snooze uninterrupted for long stretches!!
Oh I totally relate to that! And yeah, I’m choosing to view it as that: a sign that I’m letting myself relax now for the first time in maybe ever!
i worked a swing shift for money most of the past 13 years. that meant i slept different ours from week to week and i thought i was used to it. so, the 16 hours in between shifts was mine but never seemed to be a well rested break plus there were tons of extra shifts thrown in with maybe only 8 hours before you have to come back. then i ended up in this normal mon-fri gig at the same place last summer. i think the result is analogous to your transition from busting it all the time to nothing scheduled except what you decide to do. it took me a few months to get used to living like a normal human again and having evenings at home to eat together and such. now my free time is well rested and i “feel retired” i have so much of it and not enough to fill it up after needing to say no to so many things the years previous.
oh, an we had one of those tiny rooms in san sebastian once, but it had a double bed bottom and a single up top where we could put our stuff down. but…..it had a rooftop patio for anyone’s use, beer in the vending machine, and a great location for about 60 bucks. mrs. me still says never again to that arrangement, like a delicate flower.
Wow, that must have been crazy hard to live like that. I can’t imagine. Even when we were working a gajillion hours a week, we still had some sense of when our colleagues and clients were most likely sleeping and therefore didn’t expect us to be emailing them. Glad you are now in a better situation!
Would love to hear more over time about how you ‘budget’ or stay on target with spending, and how you compensate for splurging/r spending more than you anticipated. I hope to retire next year and am not sure how to think about what wiggle room I have (or don’t have). At what point am I jeopardizing my future if a big unanticipated expense comes up….. Appreciate your blog!
Thanks for that question/suggestion — I will definitely keep writing about that as we figure out what works best for us. We are definitely still maintaining the life happens fund, so have SOME cushion automatically built in, but I’m sure this will continue to be an evolution!
I’m terrible at falling asleep most of the time. I’m good at staying asleep once it happens. Thankfully, I sleep like a champ in hotels. My brain is actually able to shut off since I can absolutely ignore all the things I “should” be doing in my home when I’m in the hotel instead.
May your retirement sleep continue to be a wonderful surprise!
I slept 11 hours last night! So apparently I’m a lot better at sleeping now. Of course, I’ve had plenty of nights when I haven’t been able to fall asleep for a long time, so early retirement is not the magical sleep elixir… but it helps! ;-) How great that you can sleep well at hotels! That’s a skill I have yet to master.
Now if only I could transfer the good hotel sleep to normal sleep and let go of what I “should” be doing other than sleep!
Sending you good sleep vibes, friend! I would have recently said you’re doomed to sleep badly forever (what I believed about myself), but early retirement has given me new hope for bad sleepers everywhere.
Thanks! I believe it can change!
Believing is the first step, right? ;-)
I believe so!
Another interesting thought progression! I’m sleeping much later than I used to … and rarely getting up for an early workout as I’m trying to be a lot more kind with my body. I’m sensing a tiny bit of stress from you about the cash flow situation. That has gone away completely for me since everything is working better than I expected, though, I’m not getting overconfident because things can change. That hotel room is tiny, however, it appears much cleaner than some of the places I stayed at back in the day. I’m curious to see how your thought process changes about using your points as you progress in your retirement journey. Since I took your advice about banking points which led me to another experiment where I tried to accumulate a pile of points on top of my work travel stuff, I realized that accumulating points was a fairly easy task and I haven’t stressed about using them in perhaps a less efficient manner than some of the point optimizer people. A couple times I’ve considered paying for hotel rooms but just used my points anyway. I likely have a lot less travel planned than y’all, but I’m not stressed about them running out because there are always ways to go back to the well, so to speak, and get a pile more when they get low. I’m trying to spend nearly zero on my travel though I realize in some cases I have to pay taxes out of pocket.
I think the cash flow stress is just learning curve, not real fear. We just haven’t completely decided how to set up our account transfers to replicate paychecks, so that’s a teensy bit unsettling. But it’ll resolve itself.
I’m glad you’re using your points because devaluation is real! We’ll for sure use some, it just didn’t make any mathematical sense in Taiwan. Glad you’re feeling like refilling those balances will be easy — I haven’t even started thinking about that yet!
Ya, the best part is, everybody else has done all the work when it comes to the points game so all you have to do is figure out what feels comfortable. Two of you plus business credit card opportunities means it will be easy. Ya if it’s costing you $50/night, just the taxes at a Marriott may be that much, plus you wouldn’t have had so much fun in a tiny space! My partner doesn’t love the points game just because he doesn’t love juggling the cards but he loves that we travel for free so he gets over it. I’ll make him a better and more understandable spreadsheet next time.
The fact that it requires another spreadsheet is what stops me from travel hacking more! Just one or two cards a year is plenty. ;-)
This is so interesting…and timely. I’m working on the Exit Plan, and we are pushing it up a bit early due to the exciting birth later this year of Grandbaby #1! A big part of the equation is a decision on housing. We have been living in a lovely home in a very desirable, planned neighborhood for the past decade. We are now discussing taking the profits from this home, adding a little cash, and purchasing outright another “starter” home (closer to Grandbaby #1) like we had before this one. It feels like a step back by Normal Baby Boomer Adult Standards, but to us, it sounds like a great compromise to enable an extra $1200 (no mortgage) in our budget for travelling and spoiling grandchildren. Plus, while I love where we live, a big house in a nice neighborhood isn’t more important — and never has been — to me than spending money on other more “experiential” things. So it definitely feels like we will be moving our “housing standard” to pre-Pleasantville limits…stepping back about 10 years. And I truly believe I’m OK with this. No mortgage? YES!